Team Motivation

How do I find and keep great staff is a question as old as time, but the times are changing. As more and more millennials move into the workforce, we are increasingly seeing retailers invest in dedicated leadership training to inspire and retain their staff.

Earlier this month, we brought together a diverse panel of retail and training experts at our State of the Retail Nation  event to discuss why leadership programs are important and what retailers need to know to keep their staff, and business, happy.

On the panel was Rylan Kindness, the 17 year old(!) CEO of Parking Deals Australia, Alice Barbery, CEO of Universal Store and Jo Maxwell, our very own NRA Relationship Manager and former National Trainer.

Below are four insights from the evening to help develop more effective teams.

  1. Cultural ‘add’ not cultural ‘fit’

The hiring process is notoriously difficult and we often hear employers saying they look for individuals with the right ‘cultural fit’ Universal Store CEO, Alice Barbery challenged this idea by highlighting the need for a ‘cultural add’.

“When we’re hiring or promoting staff we ask, how do you make us better by being here? What do you bring to the team that we don’t already have?”

This strategy is backed by statistics. McKinsey’s research shows that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers and ethnically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to do the same.

So rather than looking for someone who just ticks the existing boxes, look for an individual who brings a new element or skill to your business to keep improving your culture.

  1. Embed values – don’t just list them.

Company values are essential to establish and maintain the culture of a work place. However, all panelists agreed that it takes more than a mission statement to embed this culture within a team.

Jo Maxwell, a former National Trainer and Store Manager, regaled guests with stories about her time at one of Australia’s most iconic department stores. Jo spoke about how the company values were actually embedded in the language. Key phrases that tied back to specific values, were used by teams to talk about their sales and performance.

“You’d actually hear people reinforcing the company values every day. It really helped lift the culture and performance of our teams.”

  1. Know when to listen and when to speak

One of the biggest challenges as an authority figure is knowing when to stop and listen. Alice identified how this practice makes a world of difference when creating an engaged team. Leadership begins on the shop floor for Universal Store. As a company, they understand their floor staff have some of the best insights into their customers.

Of course, a good leader must be able to identify the key issues and ultimately guide a strategy, but knowing when to step back and listen to employees has helped Universal Store implement ideas and strategies that have improved overall sales and satisfaction.

  1. Show your flaws

As the saying goes, to err is human. There are no great leaders who have not made mistakes. Parking Deals CEO, Rylan, gave great insights into how and why admitting your flaws can help build bond and strengthen a team. As a 17 year old CEO, Rylan does not shy away from hard work. He discussed how having two previously unsuccessful companies and sharing his mistakes with the team have helped him grow Parking Deals Australia to a team of six.

“I think if you’re not being honest and sharing your mistakes with your team and not asking for their help – you’re not leading well.”

Alice Barbery also echoed this sentiment and noted how it helps employees to show that you’re human, just like them.

“It’s not the fact that you make mistakes, it’s how you fix them that will demonstrate if you’re a good leader.”

If you are looking to further invest in your leaders, the NRA Training People Leadership course begins on October 10th and provides participants with a comprehensive range of leadership skills. The interactive, hands-on course covers a range of modules including communication, people management, leading & inspiring teams and resilience.